Empress Zoe

Empress Zoe

Map
Akbıyık Caddesi 4/1, Istanbul, , Turkey

Equally close to Sultanahmet’s major tourist sites as the Four Seasons, this boutique hotel is both quirkily charming and easy on the wallet. Centered on a Turkish bath dating from 1483, the property’s wood-and-brick townhouses contain 19 guest rooms, all decorated with hand-painted Byzantine-motif frescoes, Anatolian handicrafts, terracotta tiles, and Turkish kilims (some also have canopy beds and hammam-style bathrooms). Sunsets are wonderful on the roof terrace bedecked with wisteria vines; you can take breakfast either in a cozy dining nook or in the enclosed garden, a peaceful oasis of fountains, vines, and fruit trees. The one negligible downside to this property is that it smells like history—the Byzantine-era cistern gives many of the rooms a musty air.

Room to Book: Privacy-seekers should ask for the only unit with its own entrance.

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